“When the American West was truly wild country,” says artist Howard Terpning, “sometimes traveling on horseback was very difficult, if not impossible. Dense forests and fallen timbers often required riders to dismount and lead their horses through a passage that under normal conditions wouldn’t even be considered. In this case, these Crow warriors have found the forest so dense that passing through on horseback was out of the question, so their line of least resistance was forging ahead through icy cold water and slippery boulders.
“I enjoy painting water for a great many reasons, particularly white water. As an artistic device it creates drama and tension and draws the viewer’s eye through the scene. I wanted to express the motion of these travelers and the dangers they faced. Capable, resilient and experienced though these men might have been, the great force of the rushing waters posed quite a threat to them and their laden horses as they crossed.”